Wednesday, July 27, 2016

10 Things he does that means more than 'I love you'

If I've learned anything from dating, it's that men can be full of it.

We know men think with their second 'heart' most of the time, so how do we know when they actually love you and it's not lust? How do you know that he's actually serious?

To truly be able to distinguish between the two, you have to look at what he's doing and not what he's saying. He may not always say the right things, but his actions definitely speak louder than his words.

1. He stays in with you when you're sick.

Not just the "I have a cold and can still function sick," but the very unattractive cuddling a tissue box and not moving from the couch kind of sick.

2. He goes to things he doesn't want to go to because you'll be there.

Obviously he doesn't want to go to the Christmas party with all of your co-workers, but since you'll be there he could care less how awkward it'll be.

3. He lets you pick the restaurant on date night.

Your needs come first before his, no matter how much he wants to go to his favorite sports bar for drinks and wings.

4. He always makes times to text you back, even if he's slammed at work.

Those random "I miss you" texts really mean a lot.

5. He pays attention to the little things you love.

He knows your order at your favorite fast food and the type of flowers you love. Even better, he'll surprise you with those things for no reason.

6. He pretends to listen to your gossip.

No, he doesn't care that Becky has gained a lot of weight, but he won't let you know that.

7. He'll carry your purse when you need an extra hand, no matter how girly he looks.

Nothing is more annoying than trying to grab the shirt on the top rack and having your purse hinder your reach. He'll gladly hold on to it while you sift through to find that last medium.

8. He notices when you get your hair done and genuinely compliments you.

You know he really loves you when he compliments your new hair and you didn't even hint to him that you got it done.

9. He plans dates. 

"Be ready by 8 tonight and wear that cute red dress you have, I'll be by to pick you up. Where we're going is a surprise."

10. He bonds with your pet.

At first, your dog didn't like him because he was taking attention away from him. But then you realize whenever he comes over now your dog wants to cuddle with him instead of you.

So if you find a man who does all of those things, don't let him go. It's a rare and wonderful thing and I'm thankful for mine every day. What are some of the things your significant other does for you to show he loves you?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Let's Talk Healthy: Summertime Salad

Tired of the same old salad? We are too, so we're here this week with something new! I wanted to make eating salads fun again. Let's face it, we all love fried chicken on a salad, but there are yummy alternatives. 

My ingredients for a healthy summer salad:

Total Time: 15 Minutes
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Mix Time: 10 Minutes

Spring Mix
1 bag of almond halves (A great source of protein)
1 bag of dried cranberries 
1 container of bacon bits 
1 diced avocado
1 container of strawberries (cut into halves)
1 container of feta cheese
1 bottle of balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I used Panera Bread dressing)
1/4 cup of orange juice

I know all of these ingredients sounds random, but trust me when I tell you that it is so good

  • In a separate bowl, mix everything except for the spring mix together. 
  • Let the mixed ingredients set for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the separate bowl of ingredients to the lettuce. 
  • Once everything is added, mix it up and you have a delicious salad perfect for lunch or a starter salad for dinner.  

Note: The size of this salad will be multiple servings, which is perfect if you like to meal plan. I meal plan and it makes it so much easier to eat healthy throughout the week. I set one day aside every week to make all of my meals that I can either get from the fridge or heat up in a matter of minutes. If you have any questions about prepping food for the week, shoot me an email at

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

13 quotes to remember to love yourself first & foremost

1. “Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.” 
― Steve Maraboli

2. “Low self-esteem cannot take anyone to high places.” 
― Matshona Dhliwayo

3. "When you move your focus from competition to contribution life becomes a celebration. Never try to defeat people, just win their hearts."

4. “Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.” 
― Suzy Kassem

5. "Sometimes we have to stop being so giving to others because in the process we end up destroying the part of us that needs to be giving to ourselves."
―R. G. Moon

6. “To liberate yourself from your own self-judgment is to liberate others from it as well. To love yourself is an act of love for the world.” 
― Vironika Tugaleva

7. “How much you love yourself will define how much others will love you.” 
― Debasish Mridha

8. "You owe yourself the love that you so freely give to other people."

9. "Your value doesn't decrease based on someone's inability to see your worth"

10. "I have insecurities, of course, but I don't hang out with anyone who points them out to me."

11. "I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become."
―Carl Jung

12. "The sunrise, of course, doesn't care if we watch it or not. It will keep on being beautiful, even if no one bothers to look at it."
―Gene Amole

13. "The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself."
―Maya Angelou


Monday, July 18, 2016

Unedited and uncut - The raw truth about depression


"Depression is living in a body that fights to survive with a mind that tries to die."

Let's start talking about depression. Often times people think that they're the only ones who suffer and keep it to themselves because it's easier that way. Well I'm here to tell you that it's not. Keeping quiet about the things you are going through will only eat at you more and it will fill your mind with harsher words than anyone else would ever say to you. 

Taylor Mickal Photography
This especially holds true with a friend of mine that I recently connected with. She's gone through Hell and back and has decided that it's time to get her story out there and open up a discussion about the real, raw parts of depression that nobody talks about. 

Like many others in the world, Katelyn didn't particularly have a reason to be so melancholy. It got old really fast that people that kept asking, "well you have to be this way for some reason." Many people compare it to the flu: it comes out of nowhere, you feel horrible, ache everywhere, and become extremely short tempered. But for some reason, people think the flu is more worthy of treatment than depression. 

So now I'll let Katelyn take over and share her story:

I am 23 years old and I graduated from college with a Bachelors of Science in 3.5 years. I have suffered from severe depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, but refused to seek help for a very long time. For those of you that personally know me, you know me on a very superficial level. I never talked about what I was going through and tried different outlets to numb the pain. In the silence of not seeking help from anyone, my struggle with depression was deafening. But everyday I fight through it and I have overcome a lot of it. But it doesn't just magically go away. It may get better on some days, but it always lingers in the back of my mind. My goal in telling my story is to help shed light on a subject not many people understand and to help those who do suffer know that they aren't alone. It's time to make a difference.

Depression has this horrible stigma. I want to change that; to show that people who suffer from depression are worth so much more than a pity party and a "you're not trying hard enough" or "you just need to change your mindset." I am a fully functional college graduate who suffers from depression- the source of which I have no reason.

Taylor Mickal Photography
I can single-handedly tell you that every day is a battle for me, but every day I try to be thankful for those by my side. I have the greatest family, friends, and support system I could ask for, yet I still suffer. 

One of my biggest supporters was the guy I dated for 3.5 years. My sickness took a huge toll on our relationship, but without him, I don't know where I would be today. After graduation, I took a major step and decided to break things off and work on myself... Which was the most self-destructive decision I could have possibly made. This is the time where I looked for outlets to numb the pain with sex, alcohol, and drugs.

Taylor Mickal Photography
So I spent the next few months self-destructing. Resorting to sex and alcohol to drown out the deafening silence. I was able to make friends, but not the crowd that I needed to be in. I was confident for the first time in 22 years, but for all the wrong reasons. I left for a new state to work for a new job in February, and quickly realized it wasn't for me. In March, I decided to quit and moved in with my boyfriend at the time. If I had to pick one moment when things started spiraling out of control, that would be it.

On top of promiscuity and problem drinking, I started abusing my anxiety medicine, Klonopin. At one point the drinking and fighting was so bad that I overdosed on my Klonopin in hopes of ending all of the pain. I spent the entire next day drinking. I drew myself a bath and opened a pack of razors. This was rock bottom in my life and decided to reach out to a friend. She didn't hear me fully when I was telling her the severity of the thoughts going through my head... but how could I blame her? She had never experienced what I was currently experiencing so she had no grasp on the problem at hand. I had at least ten cuts on my body, all of them either needing stitches or intense medical attention. The ones on my shoulder were so deep that I cut through nerves. 

My boyfriend found me and rushed me to the hospital. The doctors stitched me up physically but I was still severely emotionally damaged. The last night I spent with him, we continued to fight. If the one person who was supposed to love me couldn't, how could I love myself? At this point, I didn't see my worth or purpose in life so I threw myself down the stairs, locked myself in the bathroom, and started self harming again. This time I found his gun and was really interested in what it could do.

Taylor Mickal Photography
Earlier I mentioned the moment when my life went downhill, and I would think this next event in my life is the moment where things were looking up. But things definitely got worse before they got better. My mom made me come home for recovery. I didn't eat, I slept all the time, and I was off my medicine and at an all time low. I lost 20 pounds and I felt hopeless.

Taylor Mickal Photography
Eventually I found work and it kept me busy. I worked three part time jobs and had to take care of my mom who is severely ill. Not being able to focus on me and my depression was a saving grace. I began seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist and started making progress. I applied to many jobs that actually would benefit me and I was offered two. This was the confidence boost I needed to overcome my fears. I met the right kind of people who gave me a new perspective on life and I began to live life for me and my mother. I then rescued a bait Pitbull from a horrible situation, knowing his life was probably worse than mine. His positive outlook on life and love for me and others despite his circumstances was inspiring. 

I want to reach out to those who suffer and tell them that there is light in all of the darkness. I want to show you that through daily struggles, it is still possible to function and get help. Do not be afraid to reach out, especially don't be afraid to get help professionally because there will be no bias or judgment. Friends can be a support system, but a doctor is key. Don't be afraid. What we experience is real. People like to think we are weak, but we are the strongest people in society when we stick together and overcome this. 

If you want to get in touch with Katelyn, click here and get in touch with me through any of those ways - I will make sure you get her contact information. 

--Until next time, Ashley

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Let's Talk Healthy: Smoothie Edition

Let's face it: It's hot and I've caught myself one too many times reaching for the ice-cream instead of the fruit popsicles I thought I'd eat to be healthy. I've realized that no matter how motivated I am to eat well, if it doesn't taste good, you can go ahead and forget about me eating it. 

Anyways, I have a sweet tooth and I needed a way to satisfy it without completely ruining all the hard work I put in at the gym. I started goofing around with the NutriBullet - it doubles as a blender and a cup for your smoothie. AKA Less dishes, hellooooo. I finally mastered what I think to be the perfect smoothie for hot summer days.

Total time: 5 minutes
Prep time: 3 minutes
Blend time: 1-2 minutes

What you'll need:
1 cup of frozen fruit (my personal favorite is the strawberry/blueberry/raspberry blend
1 banana
1 cup of greek yogurt
1 cup of water (you can substitute the water for any kind of juice or almond milk)
A few ice cubes

Throw it all in the blender for about a minute (can be more or less, just make sure it's smooth before pouring) and you have a refreshing sweet treat that is good for cook outs, breakfast, or simply satisfying your sweet tooth.

  • The cup of frozen fruit is key - don't let it thaw before blending or else you'll lose the icy-texture of the smoothie.
  • If you decide to substitute juice for water, don't forget that this is going to increase the amount of sugar in the smoothie.
  • If you find that this is too light, you can always add peanut butter to keep you full longer.